No visit is complete without spending a few days in the capital city, which houses the pinnacle of the realm’s technology. In fact, the advice from Intrepid Explorers™ is to start your visit in Ascar, so you can acclimatise yourself to local customs in relative comfort, before exploring the less developed areas further afield.
Situated in the centre of the realm, Ascar lies almost equidistant from all the rural towns and villages, around a week’s walk away (pretty much the only mode of travel in Numoeath). Of course, if you have access to a blimp or a more advanced mode of transport, the journey needn’t be so arduous as the natives’ foot travel. If you approach the city from the North, you will need to either fly over the Cleon Mountains, or travel around them by land. There is an access tunnel from the northern fields to the city, running under the mountains, but it is not for public use.
If you approach overland via the southern fields, keep an eye out for windmills (which power the initial food processing machines) and also bird cotes. The latter are maintained as part of an ingenious postal system. More on that in a later article.
Ascar isn’t large by our standards. It has a population of around 25000, all of whom live inside the walls of the city because of caution over the animals they term “beasts”. Not that this guide has ever encountered any, or even any other kind of animal other than birds and fish (generally on my plate)…
The outer city is where most residents live and ply their trades, and includes shops, dining establishments and places of entertainment. If you’re looking for souvenirs, don’t miss the clockwork toys and musical boxes hand made by the techne apprentices. Most restaurants provide decent food — especially locally farmed chickens and freshly caught fish from nearby streams. I recommend “The Trout’s Tail” for their aromatic grilled fish. For those interested in nightlife, the entertainment quarter houses establishments catering to all tastes, from family-orientated variety shows to… well, you get the idea.
The realm’s limited manufacturing facilities are within the walls of the inner city, but they’re not worth visiting unless you’re obsessed with factories. Further in lies the Royal Compound, which backs on to the city’s northmost walls at the foot of the mountains. Although both the Keep and the Royal Palace are architecturally distinctive, tourists are not permitted access as they are both working buildings.
Crime is not a major problem, although it’s always sensible advice to be aware of your surroundings and keep your belongings close to hand. Security in the capital is provided by city guards, recognisable by their brown uniforms. You may occasionally see guards in grey uniforms. They work in the convoy that travels around the countryside, escorting travellers and representing the capital. If you’re very lucky, you may glimpse guards wearing red. Those are the royal guards, and more often than not they will be escorting Queen Eleanor herself, as she travels about her duties within the city.
Obligatory statement of responsibility: In accordance with the conditions of our alternate world exploration permit, Intrepid Explorers™ affirm that 1. none of our ICs (Intrepid Correspondents) will challenge citizens’ current state of knowledge or world view and 2. any use of technology more advanced than in the visited world will remain concealed.